With the “new” atheism getting more and more publicity by the day, it seems important to amplify voices that recognize just how dangerous it is to lose touch with Spirit given the materialism and secularism of our postmodern era. Perhaps few have made this point more strongly or eloquently than Huston Smith in his epic 2001 book, Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief. I reviewed this book for a special EnlightenNext magazine supplement called WIE Extra (WIE for our former name What Is Enlightenment?). Since it was only distributed to a few thousand subscribers back then, I thought that it would make a good read for our online readers. I’m sure you’ll find that Smith’s message is as relevant today as it was when it was published. Enjoy!
We are in the throes of completing the next issue of EnlightenNext. (Doesn’t it seem like you just got the last one??) I’m currently editing an interview that we did with the spiritual teacher, Aliya Haeri, a Western convert to Sufism, which is Islam’s mystical side.
Recently, Haeri was interviewed by Chris Parish and Kyrsten Perry, from the EnlightenNext Center (or should I say “Centre”?) in London.
Have you ever heard of the Turing test? Years ago, I encountered it in Daniel Dennett and Douglas Hofstadter’s 1981 book The Mind’s I: Fantasies and Reflections on Self and Soul. It’s bugged me ever since. Put forth by Alan Turing in a 1950 paper on computing and intelligence, Turing proposed a simple and apparently straightforward way to assess whether computers could actually think. Since defining “thinking” is tricky–because immediately we find ourselves grappling with questions about the nature of consciousness or intelligence–Turing suggested that we skip all of the deeper philosophical questions with an empirical test: if a human interviewer was to receive written answers to questions posed to two entities hidden from view, a computer and a person, would it be possible for the computer to “trick” the interviewer into believing that it was the human? If so, if the computer was able to convince someone that it is capable of doing what we (thinking … Read More »
Today Andrew Cohen and Ken Wilber did their first audio internet-based seminar—bringing the much loved Guru and Pandit dialogues from EnlightenNext magazine live into homes around the world. (There were over 600 who signed up for the seminar, hailing from all over the globe—including New Zealand, Dubai, India, and China.) These two pioneering thinkers worked seamlessly together to open up our understanding of Spirit in the four quadrants of Integral Theory, as the three faces of God, from the ground of Being to the creative thrust of Eros, and across the evolutionary trajectory. It was quite a ride!
One of the points that Ken made at the end of the day really struck me. He said that mainstream liberals (those folks who are reviled by the Right for highjacking our media, among other dastardly deeds) make no distinctions about anything that … Read More »
Why don’t we know more about Vimala Thakar? I’ve just written a memoriam for our next issue about Vimala, a fiercely independent enlightened sage who pioneered a truly integrated form of inner and outer transformation, and the more I think about who she was and what she stands for, the more strange it becomes that she is so little known. There was almost no mention in the Western press that Vimala had passed away at her home in Rajasthan in March. In fact, even in her native India, the details of her passing were scarce. How could the world have missed the fact that perhaps the most spiritually enlightened woman on the planet had passed away? You would think, given the popularity of women’s spirituality, that she would be a well-known and widely revered figure, particularly among women. But she … Read More »